NFL BEST BETS
We’ve reached the halfway point of the NFL season, and our record stands at 12-12-1. That’s not where I’d like to be, but there’s plenty of time to make it up in the second half of the season. Ideally, as the season progresses and we gather more data, we should improve our ability to make these picks. Last season, our Best Bets finished with a 60% winning percentage, and we achieved that with a strong second-half finish. If last year is any indication, we can expect better results going forward.
The oddsmakers have been very good at setting lines this year. There’s no advantage in betting on favorites, underdogs, road teams, or home teams. However, there has been a significant edge in betting on unders. They’re winning at a 60% rate through eight weeks. This can be helpful when picking winners against the spread. Lower totals generally mean a smaller margin of victory. So, when I see Cleveland as a -7.5 favorite against the Cardinals with a game total of 37.5, I automatically think the Cardinals are the better bet.
In the offseason, I developed a new betting model, and I’ve been tracking its performance this year. I want to determine what it does well and what needs improvement. It has been successful in picking games straight up, and I’m encouraged by its performance against the spread and on the over/unders. It’s not performing well on the moneyline, but to be fair, I’m tracking every game, and I wouldn’t normally bet the moneyline in every game. As always, you can view all the model picks on my X profile on Sunday mornings before kickoff.
- Straight Up: 77-39, 66.4%
- Spread: 60-55-4, 52.2%, ROI: 4.4%
- Over/Under: 63-55-3, 53.4%, ROI: 2.7%
- Moneyline: 58-58, 50%, ROI: -8.9%
Week 9 Best Bets
Patriots -3 vs Commanders
The New England Patriots are in a favorable position to cover the -3 spread against the Washington Commanders. Washington’s defense has been struggling, giving up the second-most points and fourth-most yards in the NFL. To make matters worse, they recently traded away their best pass rusher, Chase Young, and their highest-graded run stopper, Montez Sweat. This should provide Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense with an opportunity to exploit their vulnerabilities, even if they are missing some receiving weapons. The return of linebacker Josh Uche from injury could bolster New England’s defense against Sam Howell.
Washington’s recent trades have weakened their defense significantly, with Young and Sweat no longer in the lineup. Mac Jones should have improved protection, and the Patriots’ offense has shown signs of life. While Washington’s offense has been more reliable lately, their defense’s struggles and the Patriots’ strong defensive unit should be enough for New England to cover.
Bills +2 at Bengals
Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense are in great form. Their passing attack has been particularly effective in recent weeks. They put on a dominant offensive performance against the 49ers last week. However, their defense allowed 8.2 yards per play. It’s going to be tough to stop Buffalo’s offense, which ranks among the top three in yards per play, third-down success rate, and red zone success rate.
The injuries to Buffalo’s linebackers and secondary have been a concern, and they’ve allowed a high passer rating since Week 5. But while the Bills have been inconsistent this season, they tend to perform well in high-profile games. There’s also emotional significance in this game as it was against Cincinnati that Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field. I think this game is a potential shootout and will be very close. But I believe the Bills’ offense is better balanced and equipped to win a high-scoring game.
Jets +3.5 vs Chargers
The Chargers have elite pass rushers like Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa going against a weak Jets’ offensive line, but New York has some strengths to leverage. One of those strengths is running back Breece Hall, who is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Hall’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield is a problem for the Chargers, particularly considering that Los Angeles has allowed the second-most yards after the catch over expected. The Jets have been solid on defense, giving up the fourth-fewest yards per play, and they’ve been able to contain both Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes this year.
Despite the Chargers’ win last week, their victories have come against rookie quarterbacks, and their defense has shown vulnerability. The Jets, on the other hand, have been on a three-game winning streak and lost a close one to the Kansas City Chiefs. Although I have concerns about the Jets’ offensive line, their defense will pose challenges for Justin Herbert, while their offense should be able to keep the game close. Given the Chargers’ inconsistent performance and the Jets’ recent winning streak, I’m betting on the Jets to cover the +3.5 spread.
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Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.